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Stock Watch: Jeffery needs refining

12/18/2012
Alshon Jeffery could benefit from some offseason work with Brandon Marshall. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

RISING

1. Brandon Marshall, WR: He led the team in receptions with six, and flashed what should have been an inspiring effort on a 15-yard touchdown in the first half. Eventually, the Green Bay Packers took Marshall out of the game. But afterward, Marshall made a long overdue plea for accountability on offense. While collectively the group probably isn't as talented as Marshall, if they put forth his effort on a week-to-week basis, we wouldn't be discussing the possibility of the Bears possibly missing the postseason.

2. Corey Wootton, DE: The performance against the Packers doesn't go down as outstanding, but nobody on the roster could really claim that distinction for this game. Wootton played a season-high 62 snaps, and tied for the team lead with 1.5 sacks. Wootton made a season-high three tackles and was responsible for a couple of hurries. After getting off to a slow start to his career because of injuries, Wootton seems to be proving he's worth the draft pick the Bears invested in him.

3. Julius Peppers, DE: Because of injuries diminishing the team's depth, Peppers played a season-high 65 snaps against the Packers and notched a five-tackle performance in addition to contributing 1.5 sacks and a pair of quarterback hurries. Fighting through a bout with plantar fasciitis most of the season, Peppers seems to just now be finding his groove, making two tackles or fewer in most of his outings of 2012. Peppers needs to continue to be a disruptive force for this team to win out to have a shot at the postseason.

FALLING

1. Kelvin Hayden, CB: With Tim Jennings still out of the lineup, the Packers decided to go after Hayden and nickel corner D.J. Moore, and both players gave up touchdowns in pass coverage. Green Bay targeted Hayden 10 times and completed six balls against him for 79 yards and a passer rating of 118.3. Although Hayden has started two games, opponents have generated a passer rating of 100 or better when targeting the cornerback in four of the last five games, according to Pro Football Focus.

2. Alshon Jeffery, WR: Jeffery's struggles against the Packers could be attributed to rust since he missed four games with a fractured hand and another two as a result of arthroscopic knee surgery. Against Green Bay, Jeffery was called for three offensive pass interference penalties, and although Jay Cutler targeted him four times, the receiver finished the game without a catch. As a rookie, Jeffery hasn't yet learned the art of being subtle when pushing off defenders. An offseason spent working with Marshall will improve Jeffery in that area.

3. James Brown, OG: Brown made his first start at left guard after putting together a promising performance the week prior against the Minnesota Vikings. This time, things didn't go so well for Brown, a player the staff thinks can eventually be as good as Lance Louis. Brown struggled most when the Packers stunted with a defensive end and Clay Matthews, which resulted in the rookie giving up two sacks and a quarterback pressure. Brown didn't fare any better as a run blocker, and eventually the team sat him on the bench and replaced him with Edwin Williams.